Why are so many people in the world hungry?

Almost 821 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have access to enough food.

Why? The answer is a complex one, with many factors. These are just some of the main reasons why people around the world don’t have enough to eat:

  • Drought. Many developing countries are prone to drought – reducing the amount of food available. Climate change and global warming are exacerbating the situation.

  • Population size. High population growth across the developing world means there are more mouths to feed but also smaller farm sizes to produce food. High population pressure is also causing increased deforestation and natural resource degradation. 

  • Not enough money. Many people living in poverty simply do not have enough money to buy food due to factors like having children at a very young age, HIV/AIDS, natural disasters and lack of opportunities for income.

  • Biofuel production. As more biofuels are produced from food crops, important staples like maize (corn), rice and wheat are becoming more expensive.

  • Low productivity. Sometimes the land can produce more food with better practices but farmers struggle to grow more food and market their produce due to lack of skills and education. Governments also often invest very little money in improving their country’s agricultural productivity.

  • HIV/AIDS. In regions like southern Africa, food production is affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has left many farmers sick and unable to grow food.

Who is most affected?

Many people are highly vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition. In particular, we know some of the people most affected by lack of access to food are:

  • Those who live in an area recently affected by drought.
  • Those who live in or close to a war zone.
  • Single-headed households. Often single mothers are worst affected as they have to look after children and provide economically for the entire household.
  • Households where one parent is disabled.
  • Those who have no access to water for market gardening in the off-season.
  • Those with no access to money to buy things like animals or even fruit trees to complement their other agricultural activities tend to be very vulnerable.

How you can help

By making a donation to the End Child Hunger Appeal or by sponsoring a child, you can help to ensure that children and families have access to the food they need for good health and wellbeing.

With your support, World Vision can address both the short- and long-term implications of hunger and food insecurity in many countries around the world by:

  • teaching farmers how to protect their land, prevent soil degradation and increase sustainability and productivity;
  • providing farmers with new varieties of seed that are both more productive and nutritious;
  • starting community savings groups to invest in agriculture and health and education;
  • providing loans to buy and raise livestock;
  • training farmers in improved agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, drip irrigation and the planting of trees that will enrich overworked soil;
  • educating families on the importance of feeding their children foods that contain essential nutrients such as iron and vitamins A;
  • helping communities protect their available food resources with new storage techniques; and
  • helping farmers harness the power of the community by establishing farmers' groups and marketing associations.